MSc Criminology

Our Masters highlights international perspectives on criminology and criminal justice. We're ranked 1st in Scotland and Top 10 in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022).

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Overview

Our MSc Criminology course establishes clear connections between conceptual theories of crime and justice, and applied examples of how they affect contemporary societies. The course has an international focus that goes beyond UK or Scottish borders, making it appealing for a diverse student cohort.

The course content encourages the pursuit of innovative and socially just responses to the problem of crime, from crimes in the street or at home, to crimes of the powerful, crimes across borders, the much newer phenomenon of online crime, and the drug problem. Throughout the course, there's an emphasis on the need for a strong critical understanding of how research is framed, used and developed, which is delivered via modules in data analysis and research design, as well as criminological and socio-legal research methods. You’ll have the opportunity to explore concepts of criminal justice, the social contexts of crime, and a variety of criminological theoretical perspectives as well as applied insights.

With elective modules in specialist subjects you can acquire and develop a range of skills which will significantly enhance your confidence in criminology and your employability. Subjects include:

  • rehabilitation and criminal justice work
  • drug policy and interventions
  • criminalisation, social control and human rights

The course is ideal for those who are keen to continue their studies at postgraduate level, as well as for practitioners who wish to consolidate existing experience and training with a Masters qualification.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

This course offers interdisciplinary insights into pressing current social issues such as terrorism, ethical uses of technology in criminal justice, the issues faced by women in criminal justice, drug policy reform, emergence and regulation of psychoactive substances, or tracing the links between poverty and imprisonment.

You'll gain a critical understanding of how research is framed, used and developed, and by whom, in criminology. Our academics are members of an internationally leading research centre; the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), as well as being affiliated with the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIRP). Our research features in the media and is used by policymakers and practice leaders.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

When you study MSc Criminology at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to pioneering empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment.

Underpinning the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, highlights included:

  • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
  • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
  • we were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2:1 preferred) in a relevant subject or equivalent is required. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with relevant work or life experience are encouraged to apply.

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma if you don’t meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences and meet the required progression grades, you’ll be guaranteed entry onto this Masters degree.

Other routes of entry

If you don’t currently meet the academic requirements for this course, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need for direct entry.

Explore INTO Stirling programmes to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available for this course and others at the University of Stirling.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Indicator 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 105 overall with a minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 20 December 2021

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

We emphasise participation, creativity and reflection in our teaching of this course.

Assessment

Our course involves a wide range of assessment choices, providing stimulus and variety, but also stretching students with assessments that test a wide breadth of skills and competencies. In addition to conventional essays and critical report writing, you'll also be assessed through presentations, the production of poster presentations, blogs, observation-based reflective reports, drafting briefing papers, and a professional writing exercise.

Also, you'll typically undertake a research dissertation that may involve a range of fieldwork activities depending on the student project (e.g. interviews, focus groups, visual research methods, survey design and administration, and secondary data analysis).

Classroom hours

Teaching on this course generally takes place all day on a Friday, and on half a day on a Thursday, but certain modules may be taught on other days.

Key staff

Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith: course lead for Socio-legal Research Methods.

Prior to Stirling, Niall worked as a criminologist in the Home Office's research directorate, working both on crime reduction programme evaluations and on the organised crime research programme. Additional research interests include community policing, policing disorder and sectarianism.

Dr Hannah Graham: course lead for Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice Work.

Hannah’s research, writing and teaching centre on a few areas of recognised expertise:

  • Criminal justice and the sociology of punishment
  • Rehabilitation, desistance and re/integration
  • Innovation and justice

Hannah’s research, writing and teaching centre on a few areas of recognised expertise, including: criminal justice and the sociology of punishment; rehabilitation, desistance and re/integration; and, innovation and justice.

Dr Maria Fotopoulou: course lead for Drug Use, Policy and Interventions.

Prior to joining the University of Stirling Maria worked in the field of policy and service evaluation of the health and social care of problem drug users and more broadly marginalised and minority groups in the UK and Greece.

Dr Bill Munro: course lead for Criminological Perspectives; and, Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights.

Bill’s research interests lie in critical theory; deviancy, social control and risk; justice in transition and alternatives to custody.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

  2021/22 2022/23
Students from the UK£6,600£7,100
Students from the Republic of Ireland£6,600£7,100
Overseas (non-EU) students£16,775£17,275
European Union students£16,775£17,275

Students from the UK

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

European Union and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

As a Masters graduate in criminology, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue a number of career routes in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Graduates in criminology can go onto roles including:

  • police
  • prison service
  • probation and community justice
  • courts
  • human rights advocacy
  • youth work
  • women’s justice and recovery services
  • victim support
  • surveillance
  • intelligence services
  • services for individuals or families affected by drug use
  • drug policy and information organisations
  • charities and social enterprises

With a combination of specialist theoretical and methodological knowledge, as well as critical-analytical skills, our course is also a great platform for those considering research and policy-related roles.

Boost your employability by studying at Scotland’s top-rated university for criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022).

Benefit from our links to the criminal justice sector and Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR).

Companies we work with

The course is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), which is a collaboration of several Scottish universities. It aims to produce excellent research and develop excellent researchers to enhance the development of policy, practice and public debate around crime and justice. The SCCJR carries international influence and works with fellow academics, policymakers, practitioners and others involved with justice all over the world. As well as benefitting from the expert input of the SCCJR, students studying this MSc Criminology course can also attend regular events hosted by the organisation.

You'll also benefit from our strong links to the applied crime and criminal justice sector, including Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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